Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Mel Robles, together with his family, shows the Certificate of Recognition on the PCSO’s contribution to the national government in the amount of PhP2,684,933,915.10 during the Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations’ (GOCCs) Day held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on May 6, 2024. (Photo courtesy of PCSO)

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

MANDALUYONG CITY — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) could have remitted higher dividends to the government had the authorities been successful in neutralizing illegal gambling operations in the country.
PCSO General Manager Mel Robles issued the statement shortly after the agency was recently recognized by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for its significant contribution to the national treasury.
The recognition was given during the 2024 Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) Day held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
This, as the PCSO earlier turned over to the national treasury a dividend contribution of Php2,684,933,915.10.
The amount represents a significant increase from its 2022 dividend contribution of Php2,665,701,213.78.
The PCSO achieved a notable revenue of Php61.45 billion in 2023, marking a seven-percent rise from the total gaming revenue of Php57.467 billion in 2022.
“We have been working very hard to raise as much revenue as we can, so that we can hand higher remittances to the national treasury which the government could use in its socio-economic initiatives, and high priority programs,” Robles said.
“However, our goal is being stymied by the proliferation of illegal gambling operators who were using the PCSO-sanctioned games to line their pockets while greatly affecting our potential earnings,” he added.
Robles pointed out that illegal gambling operations have a detrimental impact on the revenue generated by the agency, as the income losses deprive poor Filipinos of the healthcare, and other assistance and benefits the PCSO provides.
Among the illegal games that the PCSO is trying to combat are bookies, jueteng, unauthorized small-town lottery draws, and illegal online lotto operations.
Authorities estimate that the PCSO is losing billions of pesos in potential revenue to illegal gambling operators yearly. 
Despite the continued operations of illegal gambling, Robles, however, is confident that the PCSO will surpass its target income this year.
He vowed to intensify their campaign against illegal lotto operators while urging the gaming public to support the fight against illegal gambling by patronizing only PCSO-sanctioned games.
Republic Act 7656 mandates that GOCCs like the PCSO must remit at least 50 percent of their annual net earnings to the national treasury.
However, Finance Secretary Ralph Recto has increased the remittance rate to 75 percent for 2023 earnings to support the Marcos Jr. administration’s priority infrastructure, social development, and economic projects.
Robles, however, stressed the agency’s continuous commitment to conducting and supporting various charitable and health programs nationwide despite Recto’s increased remittance requirements. — By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.